Happy 2nd of May, everyone! Today is the anniversary of the day the universe decided to bless us with Dwayne Johnson – the beloved entertainer turns 46. Popularly known as The Rock, Johnson won over audiences as a professional wrestler before transitioning to acting with his 2001 performance in “The Mummy Returns”. Since then, he has become one of the most consistent action heroes working today and is without a doubt one of Hollywood’s most profitable stars.
The Likeability Factor
But what is Johnson’s unique appeal? He seems to be universally well-liked, almost in Tom Hanks territory. Except instead of an adorable everyman, he’s a ripped, smoldering alpha male who can make his pecs move independently from one another. Part of the appeal seems to be very little doubt that he is a hyper-masculine actor, a macho-man. For the most part, Johnson seems to have avoided the potential pitfalls of toxic masculinity that could be attributed to other action stars. He’s self-aware and in on the joke, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
The Many Faces of Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson may have a type, but he’s no one trick pony. We see him play the archetypical action hero pretty straight in films like “San Andreas,” “Walking Tall,” and the Fast and the Furious franchise. There’s little nuance, but there’s also little to complain about. It’s the Rock doing what the Rock does best – kicking ass and taking names. We see a pivot towards family-friendly material, which manipulates his public image as a tough guy by putting him in ridiculous comic scenarios, we’re talking “Race to Witch Mountain” or “Tooth Fairy.”
Finally, and arguably most successfully, are the films that subvert his traditional role and allow him to show a little vulnerability – whether that’s as the avatar of an anxiety-ridden teenager in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” or as a former FBI agent desperately trying to save his wife and children while still emotionally struggling with an incident that render him with a physical disability in “Skyscraper.” There’s a flavor of the Rock for everyone – but is it too early to say that the upcoming “Hobbs & Shaw” film is probably everyone’s flavor of the Rock?